There’s so many ways to do copy

…and it’s not always good.

In fact this line actually reduces the likelihood of us wanting to see the film…

Hitman's Boyfriend
In fact this line actually reduces the likelihood of us wanting to see the film…

And this one quite frankly is bullssh*t.  How often have you ever debated the ‘water or juice’ dilemma.

At least we kind of understand what they’re trying to say here.

Just quotes but a valid use of copy.

Quite simply confusing.

We see thousands of marketing messages every day so we need to stand out.

We have a clear winner here.

We can be clichéd.  This campaign was very successful.

We can be very simple.  Sometimes less is more.

This grabs your attention but it’s very passive.  ‘You are one of millions being watched through your webcam’ is more engaging.

Copy can be used to promote the brand

And when timed right can be incredibly effective

It can be iconic. So much so that you don’t even need a logo.

And it can be moronic and instantly forgettable.

It can be brilliant!

But if it’s been done don’t ‘copy’ it .

And it’s powerful. Incredibly so. The choice between one word and another instantly takes us to different places. Brilliantly demonstrated by this spot for the Daily Telegraph.

What is copy?

This is what we traditionally think of when we see copy. A copywriter and an art director working together. The ‘Mad Men’ approach

It uses all sorts of creative techniques to sell you the product.

It changes your perception of the product…

And in conjunction with a good image can create clever, funny and brilliant campaigns .

In the words of the dictionary…

"The text of an advertisement"

But it’s much more than that in the modern broadcast world. It’s everything we write for a promo or poster be it voiceover, strapline or caption.

A short history of copy in promos

2 very different approaches to sport.

Then (1981)

Now (2017)

What is copy there for?

1. Information: clarity of necessary info

2. Emotional response: provoke you to feel something

3. Tone of voice: you are always working within a channel / brand TOV

1. Information

What information is really necessary?


When is it on?

Where is it on (channel / brand)?

Everything else is optional, so must be there for a reason.

Necessary Info

The extra info ‘major new drama’, and the author’s name, say it all.

Necessary Info with Key Cast

Again the basic names are enough to carry the second series of this hotly-anticipated new show.

Necessary Info with a Premise

Adding a concept through simple copy / art direction of the image.

Necessary Info with a Line That Makes No Sense

Adding a line. Does it help? This one means nothing really.

Ask yourself what information and in turn copy is key and is it added anything?  It always has to be adding something.

2. Emotional Response

Anything else you add is there to provoke an emotional response.

It should make you feel something.

It could make you laugh, be moved, feel tense, feel fascinated, feel excited…

Try flipping it or soften it or enhancing it (bring out the best the product has to offer.)

It could intrigue you…

And it can enhance the image

3. Tone of Voice

You are always working within a channel / brand tone of voice.

Some channels / brands even have a ‘word bank’ that tells you the kind of language they like to use as a guide for all copy.

E.g. “Season” / “Series” or “LOLs” / “Giggles”.

Three broadcasters talking about sport very differently

Four broadcasters approaching one film in very different ways.

Sony TV – Make it prestige

Channel 5 – Make it fun

Film4 – Make it quality

Comedy Central – Make it funny

Dave – The prefect example of a strong tone of voice.

They went from this to this

The shows they make reflect their tone of voice.

And are promoted as such…

They spend money just doing brand tone of voice.

This is what tone of voice is.

"When you read an article, manual or even a pop-up message - any copy - if you read it and pick up a hint of personality in the writing, then that's the writer's voice.
If you read something and it sounds uncomfortable and almost robot-like - the writer hasn't found their voice because they haven't conveyed personality through their writing.”
- Dalene Ingham-Brown, Quora user

So how to get into a brand’s tone of voice. Some tips…

4. How to write copy

So, here’s the thing. Nobody can you teach you. There are no hard and fast rules. The key thing is…you just have to have the confidence to go for it.

“I always avoid writing copy in case I fuck it up”
Junior Creative Quote

But some of the perceived worst writers out there are also some of the best-selling

Some advice on how to write copy…

Some advice on writing drama

Some advice on writing drama

And some final words of wisdom

“Remember that very few love, only some hate - and nearly everyone just doesn't care.”
- Alain de Botton, Writer

3. Tone of Voice

2 brand films aimed at the same audience.

Copy that engages

Copy to help us escape